Languages › English as a Second Language "Out" Idioms and Expressions Share Flipboard Email Print Johner Images/Getty Images English as a Second Language Vocabulary Basic Conversations for English Language Learners Pronunciation & Conversation Writing Skills Reading Comprehension Grammar Business English Resources for Teachers By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated November 06, 2019 The following idioms and expressions use the preposition 'out'. Each idiom or expression has a definition and two example sentences to help to understand these common idiomatic expressions with 'out'. Blow Something out of Proportion Definition: exaggerate the importance of an event to make it seem much more important than it actually is You don't need to blow your report card out of proportion. You'll do better next time.The boss is blowing the drop in sales out of proportion. Break out in Tears Definition: begin crying suddenly, usually in an exaggerated matter Mary broke out in tears as soon as she heard he was leaving her.My cousin broke out in tears when she learned that he had cancer. Break out in a Cold Sweat Definition: become suddenly very nervous about something I broke out in a cold sweat when I heard they were laying off workers.The news made him break out in a cold sweat. Come in out of the Rain Definition: come inside from outside, used in a friendly manner when inviting someone into your home Hurry up and come in out of the rain. I'll make you a nice cup of tea.She told me to come in out of the rain and warm up. Come out Ahead Definition: gain an advantage after a series of events It was a tough year, but we came out ahead in the end.I think I'll come out ahead if I win this bet. Come out of the Closet Definition: to state that you are homosexual - modern usage, to admit that you like something that others might find a little unusual - more general usage Gary came out of the closet last week. His parents took the news well.OK, I'll come out of the closet and admit that I love opera. Down and Out Definition: to be in a bad position financially Ted has been down and out these last few years.I hope you never have to experience being down and out. It's no fun! Eat Your Heart Out Definition: an expression of jealousy at the fortune of someone else Hey, eat your heart out! I just won $50,000 in the lotto!He ate his heart out when he heard that Jim got the position. Feel out of Place Definition: not feel comfortable in a situation I felt a little out of place in my latest position at work.Many students feel out of place the first few weeks of class. Fork Money Out Definition: spend money on something I forked $100 out for those headphones.Jennifer doesn't want to fork out more than $1,000 for the party. Get out of the Wrong Side of the Bed Definition: be in a bad mood for a long time I must have got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. Nothing is going well for me today!Ignore Jane. She got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. Go in One Ear and Out the Other Definition: not pay attention to something that has been instructed I'm afraid his name went in one ear and out the other. Can you tell me his name again?Unfortunately, what I say just goes in one ear and out the other. Let the Cat out of the Bag Definition: tell a surprise to someone that one should keep secret Why did you tell him? You let the cat out of the bag!Peter let the cat out of the bag a few days early. Like a Fish out of Water Definition: to be out of place I felt like a fish out of water in my new position.Some students feel like fish out of water for the first few days. Make a Mountain out of a Molehill Definition: make something seem much more important than it is, exaggerate the importance of something Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. We'll get by this month and then everything will be OK.Margret made a mountain out of a molehill. Just ignore her. Odd Man Out Definition: not belong to a situation, feel strange in a situation I was the odd man out last night with Tim and Anna. I think they wanted to be alone.Sometimes I feel like the odd man out no matter how hard I try to fit in. Out and About Definition: away from the home Doug is out and about tonight. I don't know when he'll return.I feel like we need to get out and about. Out of Luck Definition: unfortunate, unlucky You're out of luck today.I'm sorry your out of luck. We don't have anymore. Out of the Blue Definition: suddenly and unexpectedly Guess who I saw out of the blue? Tim!The car appeared out of the blue and I barely avoided an accident. Out of the Question Definition: not possible under any circumstances I'm afraid that's out of the question.The teacher said that retaking the test was out of the question. Out of Turn Definition: not in the correct order She spoke out of turn.We'll discuss this grammar point out of turn. Out on a Limb Definition: taking a chance, risking something I'll go out on a limb and guess that he loves her.You don't need to go out on a limb. Pull out All the Stops Definition: try as hard as one can I'm going to pull out all the stops to get this job.The director pulled out all the stops on this latest marketing campaign. Shape Up or Ship Out Definition: act correctly or stop doing something - usually used as a threat Tom you'll have to shape up or ship out.I told her to shape up or ship out. I'm tired of her excuses.